65. The Omnipresent Banana

26 Mar

MISCONCEPTION: The best fruit is the Banana, I eat lots of different bananas, just because they are that delicious. Mmmm! Bananas.

FACT: I can understand the great enthusiasm and love many people feel for bananas, I really can. However, whilst they are loved the world over and are very useful; bananas are a herb, not a fruit. Whilst they appear to come off of a tree , its just happens to be the worlds largest herbaceous plant… so there.

As I was saying there really are no ends to bananas usefulness, monkeys love them, the leaves are good for waterproofing ceilings or wrapping up parcels. In fact with their easily peeled skin they seem to be perfect for human consumption.This is all good, that is why several thousand years ago humans started cultivating them, before even apples be were looking after the curvy herb. Just remember…

The banana was never meant to be. It is a freak, in the traditional sense at least.

Th banana is a hybrid between to closely related plants, one of which tastes horrible, meanwhile the other is stuffed full with seeds. Due to the fact that nature does no like cross-breeding the offspring, out eponymous hero the banana, is sterile. Bananas cannot breed. Fortunately for the banana lovers worldwide some smart humans realised that by taking cuttings you could produce more bananas, however these would be identical to the original banana.

Over many hundreds of years of trade and expansion we today have reached what many people consider to be the perfect banana. If you have ever had a banana split, smoothie, or bought a banana from a supermarket, it was the same banana. Down to the last gene. It was a Cavendish banana.Every lat one.Unfortunately, due to the magic of having the same sweet taste every time, the banana is susceptible to disease. Currently genetic scientists the world over are working hard to find a way to prevent a banana  apocalypse. This may sound ridiculous but I assure you it is very serious,  it has happened before.

There was once a more popular breed of banana than the Cavendish, it was called Gros Michel, its fame spread and some claim it was even better than our beloved Cavendish. Then one day, catastrophe struck. It was the Panama disease. This condition spread like wildfire because if one Gros Michel could get it, the millions of others would too, and they did. Over ten or so years the disease spread through plantations around the world, reducing millions of tons of delicious herbs to a rotting mess. By the 1970’s Gros Michel was extinct, Cavendish was the king now. The new omnipresent herb in our midst.

So there you have, the rise and fall of a freak of nature, a banana that cannot breed but is everywhere you look. The story of an apocalypse and a new king. The banana is a most phenomenal herb.

For a longer, probably better written article on the sex-life of bananas click here.


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